Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Go Larry Go!

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and support for Senator Larry "family values" Craig in his quest to proudly strike a defiant "wide stance" and remain a national punchline until the bitter end of his congressional term. It just doesn't get any better than this. Despite the best efforts of his party's leaders such as Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, and John McCain, he has decided to remain "the turd that won't flush" -- another shining example of Republican hypocrisy for voters to ponder all the way up to election time. It takes a special kind of jerk to spend your entire career voting against rights for gay people when you're a closeted gay yourself -- to troll nasty, stinking public restrooms in search of clandestine encounters to satisfy your sexual desires, while you publicly vilify people who are honest about their sexual preference and just want to be accepted as human beings like everybody else. To whip out a Senate ID card when caught in the act, in an attempt to intimidate the arresting officer, and when that doesn't work, to try lying your way out of it under interrogation. To plead guilty two months later, while trying to hide it from your family, your colleagues, and your constituents. To promise to resign, and then renege on that promise, all the while still righteously proclaiming that you are "not gay" and that you were "entrapped", trying in vain to withdraw your guilty plea. To drag your poor wife on national television time after time to suffer public humiliation in the name of a selfish, petty, delusional game that you can't possibly win.

I salute you Larry Craig. You epitomize the modern Republican Party.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"The Terrorists"

"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

George W. Bush
September 20, 2001

From the moment that this shallow, trite, idiotic, ridiculously simplistic phrase "the terrorists" began to work its insidious way into the American lexicon, our political discourse has descended to a level of childishness never before seen in our history. I stifle my gag reflex every time I hear it. It's as if we're all children, and "the terrorists" have taken the place of "the bogeyman" to scare us into submission when we're being unruly. And it has worked like a charm! The media and the public have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. The administration has kept them all looking under their beds and checking closets for "the terrorists" while proceeding to start a war of aggression, eviscerate the Constitution, break the law of the land, and conduct an unprecedented executive power grab, all in the name of "protecting" us. Even the president's opponents have been suckered into this ruse by allowing him to frame our national political debate in such juvenile terms.

"However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."

-- George W. Bush, Oct 30, 2006

"I wonder if they are more interested in protecting the terrorists than they are in protecting the American people."

-- John Boehner, Sep 12, 2006

"Suggestions, for example, that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq simply feed into that whole notion, validates the strategy of the terrorists."

-- Dick Cheney, Sep 10, 2006


Look people, every time these assholes say "the terrorists", instead of pissing yourself in fear like they want you to, think about who really attacked us on 9/11. It wasn't some fearsome, omnipresent enemy who represent the greatest threat to western civilization since the USSR or the Axis powers of WWII. It was 19 hijackers, financed by one rich Saudi, who penetrated our lax airport security and took advantage. That's all. The rest is all ridiculous bullshit hyperbole, designed to:
  1. Start a war they wanted to start all along, strictly for the financial gain of the Republican Party's cronies.

  2. Expand executive power in furtherance of the "unitary executive theory".

  3. Make you forget the fact that these incompetent shits still haven't caught the perpetrator of the crime.

Sure, there's an Al-Qaeda problem in Iraq now, but you can thank George W. Bush for that. It didn't exist before the invasion, no matter how many lies Dick Cheney tells you. There's a bigger Al-Qaeda problem elsewhere. Bin Laden is rebuilding his organization right now in northwest Pakistan, thanks to George W. Bush failing to kill or capture him when he had the chance. So every time you hear them say "the terrorists", just make it singular and think about:

The Terrorist

If Bush would have simply done the job right in the first place and captured this animal and his buddies, and put them on trial like civilized nations do:

  1. The big bad Al-Qaeda figurehead would be in prison instead of coming out with videos making a monkey out of Bush.

  2. We wouldn't have lost another 4,000 people and spent half a trillion dollars in Iraq.

  3. The rest of the world would still respect us, instead of considering us a pariah nation.

  4. George Bush might not have destroyed his own political party.

If one were prone to express things in the childish, moronic way that George W. Bush is so fond of, they might say that he's letting "the terrorist" win. They might say that "the terrorist" is doing a fine job of kicking Bush's ass, actually.

But I would never do that.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Desperation Is A Stinky Cologne

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va) has put up a website beseeching you to sign a petition and STAND WITH RUSH, because "conservative free speech is under direct attack". Yes, those same "liberal extremist" Democrats that Rep. Cantor excoriated for their evil, nefarious plans to "import terrorists to America" are at it again. They're trying to push poor Rush around by censuring him for his "phony soldiers" remarks. Oddly, Rep. Cantor had no problem voting for the resolution to condemn MoveOn.org's free speech just last month. Apparently free speech is only worth defending if it's "conservative". Response to the petition seems rather tepid, considering Limbaugh supposedly has a weekly audience of 13.5 million listeners. Perhaps his audience was a little put off by the remarks as well. One would think that a quick apology would go a long way toward smoothing things over, but as usual with the egotistical Limbaugh, that won't be forthcoming. He'll pigheadedly continue questioning the patriotism of his critics, just like George W. Bush. One look at the Bush approval ratings over the past few years should clue Mr. Limbaugh in to the obvious. That tactic isn't cutting it any more.

The uber-patriotic rhetoric of the Right cannot disguise the Republican record of abject failure, but still the water-carriers sing the same tired old "attack the messenger" song. To them, I suppose the chart above indicates that close to 70% of us are "with the terrorists" now. And with soldiers daring to speak up, they are fair game for attack.

Examples of this aversion to self-reflection are abundant. Ann Coulter rushes to Limbaugh's defense, gracing us with another of her vitriolic screeds. Like her pal Rush, she is completely oblivious to the sea change of public opinion going on all around her -- so consumed and blinded by hate that simple concepts such as success and failure, right and wrong, truth and lies, escape her. All that matters now is the lashing out -- the belittling of her opponents by any means possible. She has no qualms jumping on the "phony soldiers" bandwagon.

"True, all Democrats in the military are not phony soldiers, but all phony soldiers seem to be Democrats."

Especially telling is the following, where she quotes poll numbers from 2004, and without skipping a beat pretends that they apply in the here and now.

"According to a Military Times survey taken in September 2004, active-duty military personnel preferred President Bush to Kerry by about 73 percent to 18 percent. Sixty percent describe themselves as Republican and less than 10 percent call themselves Democrat (the same 10 percent that MSNBC has on its speed-dial). Even among the veterans, Republicans outnumber Democrats 46 percent to 22 percent." So there aren't a lot of anti-war military types for the media to turn into this month's "It Girl."

That's right. If you're a veteran opposed to the war, Ann Coulter questions not only your patriotism, but your manhood.

Republican Party propaganda outlet Fox "News" breathlessly informs us that Obama is not loyally wearing his American flag lapel pin, as if that is some sort of weighty campaign issue. I'll bet when you get in the voting booth, just before you cast your vote you'll be thinking, I really like this candidate's platform and his stand on the issues, but he doesn't wear a flag pin on his lapel so I couldn't possibly vote for him. Am I right? I wonder, do you Fox viewers ever get the feeling that your intelligence is being insulted? Do you ever stop and think about the mindless pablum that's being presented to you as "news"? I implore you. Please stop. Please think.

We're also told that you heathen Democrats don't pray as much as Republicans do, and that 1 in 5 of you America-hating surrender monkeys want the U.S. to lose the war in Iraq. Fox has poll numbers to prove it! I'll bet if you Democrats prayed more like those nice Republicans you wouldn't be such traitors.

One has to wonder if Fox actually thinks that this sort of asinine preaching to an ever-shrinking choir is going to do anything to prevent the well-deserved ass kicking the Republicans are going to receive in the coming election of 2008. Fiscal conservatives, the classic base of the Republican party, are bailing out in droves, due to the insane Bush policies of increased spending, government expansion, and a war, combined with tax cuts. Maybe somebody should have taught the frat boy how to subtract. Once the real conservatives leave, all that will remain are the bible-thumpers, gun nuts, homophobes and racists. Karl Rove's strategy of appealing to the "base" with "wedge issues" will finally come home to roost, and the Republicans will end up an angry, frustrated minority with virtually no power at all. Maybe they'll all move to one of the "Red" states and build a wall around it so they can have their White Paradise and their wives won't by God have to wear bhurkhas. Praise Jesus and pass the ammo!

There is one thing that would restore the Republicans to their former glory. I suspect those quasi-fascist nut jobs at Fox include it in their little prayers every night. One of them even had the balls to say it live on the air. Here's John Gibson, Fox "News" anchor, telling us what he really thinks America needs.

With statements like this, maybe we should all think long and hard about who the "phonies" really are.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It's About Time For The "Incident"

August 1964 -- The war hawks were conducting business as usual. Covert operations against North Vietnam had been ongoing for quite some time -- attacks on radio transmitters and radar sites in coastal areas by South Vietnamese Navy patrol boats -- planned, equipped and financed by the Pentagon, and supported by the US Navy. The war hawks got what they wanted on August 2nd when the destroyer USS Maddox, on patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin, came under fire in international waters from three North Vietnamese gunboats. No real damage was done to the Maddox. The torpedoes missed, and one machine gun bullet lodged in one of the boat's stacks. The gunboats were driven off by return fire from the Maddox and planes launched from the carrier USS Ticonderoga. President Johnson decided not to retaliate just yet, but warned Hanoi against "any further unprovoked offensive military action against United States forces". Unprovoked? Yeah right. Both sides knew the score. Hanoi had already lodged a formal protest over the attacks on its territory by American "puppet" forces. They knew the Maddox was involved in an operation attacking the islands of Hon Me and Hon Nieu just the day before, their mission being to sniff out fresh targets by monitoring the spike in radar and radio signals just after the attacks. The gunboat attack on the Maddox was a personal message to Johnson. Not to be out-hawked, Johnson ordered another destroyer, the USS Turner Joy, to accompany the Maddox on further patrols in the same area, ratcheting up the tension another notch. He had shown restraint to the American public, but now he was itching for a fight.

Two days later, "freak weather effects," "almost total darkness" and an "overeager sonarman" who "was hearing his ship's own propeller beat" caused a panic aboard the Maddox and the Turner Joy. The infamous "Gulf Of Tonkin Incident" had begun. For two and a half hours the sailors evaded ghost torpedoes, called in air strikes from the Ticonderoga, and fired wildly at boats that probably never existed -- all the while sending frantic "Flash Priority" messages to Washington, reporting on the progress of the ongoing "engagement". When the smoke cleared, Captain John J. Herrick issued this message:
"Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonarmen may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken."
Any sane, prudent leader would order that complete evaluation before taking further action, but not a war hawk like Lyndon B. Johnson. He ordered immediate "retaliatory" airstrikes against targets in North Vietnam. Old Lyndon later confided: "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."

The rest is sad, shameful history. The press immediately started cheerleading. Congress didn't ask any questions. Johnson got his Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The military-industrial complex got their billions of taxpayer dollars. The American people got over 58,000 deaths and 350,000 casualties, and the Vietnamese deaths numbered in the millions. Quite a legacy for old Lyndon the bad-ass Texas war hawk.

October 2007 -- The war hawks are conducting business as usual. Forget the fact that Iraq is an unmitigated clusterfuck. That doesn't matter to a bad-ass Texas war hawk like George W. Bush or a hell-bent psycho like Dick Cheney. They aren't up for re-election, and the Republicans are screwed next time anyway. The Democrats are going to have to clean up the mess. Besides, everything is going great for the all-important cronies in the military-industrial complex. They're raking in billions and ready to go for more. Forget our nation's future, and the future of the world for that matter. Strap on your pig snout and think like a heartless, greed-driven warmonger for a minute. The next target is Iran, and we almost have them surrounded.

To the east -- Afghanistan is occupied and Pakistan is our ally. Well, Musharraf is anyway. To the west -- Iraq is occupied and Kuwait is practically our own private military base. The Saudis to the south are allied with us and certainly no friends of Shiite-led Iran. But what about that pesky Strait of Hormuz? If Iran could disrupt shipping there, they would immediately cut off 20% of the world's oil supply. It's imperative that it be kept open. Three U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike groups operating in the Persian Gulf should do the trick. The USS Enterprise strike group has been there for a while, and the USS Nimitz and USS Truman groups just arrived at the end of September. All of the pieces are in place to keep the strait open while also raining a heap of good old "shock and awe" down on the heads of those uppity Iranians. The propaganda campaign has been pretty successful so far. Nobody fell for Iran as an imminent nuclear threat, but the "Iran meddling in our business in Iraq" campaign seems to be getting some traction. We got our Kyl Amendment from Congress, didn't we? Hell, that's almost as good as a preemptive Gulf of Tonkin Resolution! The plans are all drawn up. Now all we need is the "incident".

So what will the "incident" be? An "unprovoked" attack on our Navy in the Persian Gulf, just like in 1964? An "engagement" on the Iran-Iraq border? A "terrorist attack" blamed on the Iranians? The possibilities are just about endless, but the "incident" is inevitable, and no matter what it is, the "reaction" is predictable. The "retaliatory" bombing will immediately begin. The press will start cheerleading, and Congress won't ask any questions. The cronies will get more billions, and the corpses will pile up. As usual, the long-term consequences haven't been planned for, or even considered. The next president will have to deal with them, and Bush will leave us three wars as a parting gift. Quite a legacy for old George the bad-ass Texas war hawk.

Update: October 6, 2007 -- Today, White House mouthpiece General David Petraeus, speaking at a US military base 20 miles from the Iranian border, escalated the accusations of Iran's interference in Iraq and accused Tehran's ambassador to Baghdad of being a member of the Revolutionary Guard's Quds force. According to Petraeus: "They are responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and in some cases the direction for operations that have indeed killed U.S. soldiers".

The drumbeat grows louder.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Republicans - Where's The Outrage?

All that noble sacrifice -- and now yet another slap in the face for our poor, beleaguered American hero, General Petraeus:

"The general's relationships with official Washington remain intact. Yet he has broken faith with the soldiers he commands and the Army to which he has devoted his life. He has failed his country. History will not judge him kindly."

American Conservative Magazine

September 24, 2007

Don't get me wrong. I think The American Conservative has the right to print any article they wish -- as long as it isn't libelous. That's what the First Amendment is all about. They're saying basically the same thing that MoveOn.org said, but for different reasons. I'm just waiting for the reaction from the Right. Will there be more useless, time-wasting resolutions of condemnation introduced in the House and Senate by outraged Republicans? Will they be clamoring for air time on the television networks to defend the general's honor against this treasonous attack, like they did with MoveOn's ad, or when John Kerry botched a joke, appearing to insult the troops? Or will they once again show us their hypocrisy and just let this slide, simply because it was written by a conservative publication?

I'm also waiting to see if this gets as much attention from the news media as the MoveOn ad did. I'd be willing to wager a considerable sum that it won't. It seems things like this are only newsworthy if they come from the Left. I wonder why that is. Could it be that the "liberal media" the Right whines so much about isn't so liberal after all? Could it be that the corporations that profit from the war many times end up being the same corporations that own the television networks and newspapers? Could it be that large chunks of the so-called "liberal media" are actually owned by people with a conservative agenda?

Needless to say, the next week or so should provide a few laughs. It will be especially entertaining to watch the right-wing pundits like Rush "phony troops" Limbaugh try to either justify, or ignore this. I suspect they will choose the latter option.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Surprise! - An Independent Judiciary

The founding fathers' spinning in their graves slowed down a few revolutions per minute yesterday. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken has ruled two provisions of the Orwellian-titled Patriot Act unconstitutional. Judge Aiken's strongly worded, 44-page decision states that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, "now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment". What should have been obvious to Congress before they violated their oath of office by passing this legislation has been pointed out to them by a member of the Judicial Branch. Hopefully, since Congress didn't take the time to read the Patriot Act before passing it, they will now take the time to read Judge Aiken's decision -- perchance to gain a semblance of an education in constitutional law. That might be a valuable thing for lawmakers to acquire. Here are some selected quotes from the ruling:

"It is critical that we, as a democratic nation, pay close attention to traditional Fourth Amendment principles." -- [The Act] "holds that the Constitution need not control the conduct of criminal surveillance in the United States." -- "In place of the Fourth Amendment, the people are expected to defer to the executive branch and its representation that it will authorize such surveillance only when appropriate." -- [The Justice Department] "is asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. The court declines to do so."

Look at that set of nuts on Judge Aiken! And she's a lady! Hey Congress! That is how a patriot acts!

The case that led to this decision was yet another nightmare of authoritarian abuses carried out by the Bush thugs in their endless quest to prosecute somebody, anybody, for terrorism-related charges in order to justify all of their shiny new draconian laws. Their culprit -- Portland, Oregon attorney Brandon Mayfield. His crimes -- being a convert to Islam, and the victim of a bungled fingerprint identification which led investigators to suspect him of involvement in the Madrid train bombings of 2004. The FBI proceeded to secretly search his home and office without his knowledge -- a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment -- copying his computer files and planting bugging devices on their way out. They also recorded his telephone calls and subsequently threw him in jail for two weeks. When they finally did their homework and properly matched the fingerprint to an Algerian man, they released Mayfield, but they had messed with the wrong guy. He sued, and the government settled for $2 million. But Brandon Mayfield wasn't done. He challenged the portions of the Patriot Act that allowed those secret searches and surveillance on the grounds that they violate our constitutional rights -- resulting in Judge Aiken's decision yesterday. Once again the overzealous Bush administration's trademark combination of arrogance, brutality, and incompetence comes back to embarrass them. After being granted all of this new power in the aftermath of 9/11, they immediately start abusing it -- as predicted.

Of course we can expect this ruling to be appealed, all the way up to Bush's slanted Supreme Court if necessary. But for now, the wisdom of the founding fathers in setting up that third coequal branch of government, the Judicial Branch, has come shining through.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Tragicomic Plight Of The Democrats

Today, a Republican minority in the Senate proudly passed a resolution condemning a newspaper ad, a mere day after obstructing, by procedural filibuster, bipartisan legislation to restore the right of Habeas Corpus, against the will of a 56-43 majority. Bravo, Republicans! May historians remember you always. After all, in this supposedly free country, it's infinitely more important for the United States Senate to "strongly condemn" a group of people for exercising freedom of the press than it is to restore one of the inalienable human rights upon which our very nation was founded; a right recognized by civilized nations since the Magna Carta was issued in 1215. They ruffled a General's feathers? Big deal. Blame his Commander in Chief, George W. Bush for turning him into a politician. And let's not forget the fact that Petraeus' superior, CENTCOM Chief Admiral William Fallon has called him much worse names than "Betrayus", but you won't see Bush parading Admiral Fallon before Congress to express his opinions. This only emphasizes the nature of the cynical farce being played out on Capitol Hill.

Even worse is the fact that 22 Democrats voted for this ridiculous resolution. If the shoe was on the other foot and a General that disagreed with Bush's policies was being criticized by a Republican organization, do these Democrats think for one minute that a single Republican would vote in favor of a resolution condemning them? Think again. Then there's the mind-numbing, incomprehensible fact that spineless, gutless Senate Majority leader Harry Reid did not even force the Republicans to show their faces on the floor of the Senate and actually filibuster the restoration of Habeas Corpus in front of the people, to be recorded for posterity. The legislation was timidly withdrawn, simply because the Republicans threatened to filibuster it. Perhaps MoveOn.org should come out with another "betrayal of trust" ad, this one featuring the Democrats. These hapless asses are so worried about trying to please everyone that they are going to end up losing their base. Maybe they ought to take a good, long look at their 11% approval rating and realize that it stems from them not standing up for their supposed convictions. Until they do, they are going to continue to get steamrolled by the minority party and a lame duck President with a 29% approval rating. Pathetic.

The real losers here are the people, who elected these clowns with the hope of ending the war in Iraq. Look what they got -- an escalation of the war from Bush, and impotent whining from the Democrats -- even though they always had, and still have, the power to end the war. That power is the power of the purse, granted to them by the Constitution. But they won't use it. They're cowards.